Almost four years ago, David and I started The Bucket List Narratives. I was a college dropout, who had always dreamed of being a journalist, but had been told by every well meaning journalism teacher in high school that I was talented, but made too many pop culture references. I prefered to not stop referencing my beloved Kardashians, and instead felt like I lost direction. That’s when I started the blog – the whole world was totally new to me, I was just grateful for a chance to write again. I never expected it to become a career, and I’ve been grateful every day for this opportunity. Today, I wanted to share a little of what I’ve learned.

-Value Collaboration Over Competition
There’s always the chance to view other bloggers, or instagramers as competition, or people that are stealing your audience. But guys – I can’t stress enough how important it is to be each others biggest cheerleaders, and fans. Most of the time that I’ve achieved ANY level of success, it’s because another successful person chose to collaborate with me, or give me a chance. The internet is SUCH a big place – there’s enough readership, and business for all of us. One of my favorite sayings is ‘if you want to go fast, go alone – if you want to go far, go together’. I’ve made some of the greatest friendships of my life on this journey, and I value their success, as much as my own. Not to go there – but it really does take a village.

-People Want Authenticity
People want YOU. They want the real you. You’ll find your audience when you’re authentic. I think we live in a world that just CRAVES what is genuine so badly. But, there’s a difference between being authentic, and oversharing – and when you’re sharing yourself on the internet, that’s a fine line to walk. I think, for me, I’ve had to learn that there’s the version of yourself you share with your girlfriends, when you’re drinking a bottle of wine, and watching The Bachelor – and maybe that version of yourself shouldn’t go on the internet. That doesn’t mean you aren’t being ‘real’, or ‘authentic’, but that you’re walking the line between authenticity and oversharing.

-Your Path to Monetizing Isn’t Someone Else’s
Guys – this is one of the biggest lessons I learned. It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to other bloggers, and comparison will suck all the fun out of this business. Just because someone else has managed to make 79237498324732984723094 dollars in affiliate links, doesn’t mean you have to! Just because someone else has a billion sponsors, doesn’t mean you have to! You will find your niche, where you make money, and it’ll be yours! Find, and walk your path to making money blogging, and don’t get caught up in trying to copy someone elses. The moment I accepted that my path would look different than other peoples, was the moment that blogging was fun.

-You Have to Have a Private Life
One of the ways that I keep blogging fun, is by having a firm line in the sand about what I will, and won’t share on my blog. This line looks different for everyone, and it’s not my job to tell people where that line is, because it’s a totally personal decision. For me, personally, I won’t ever share about my friends in Dallas. I never want them to feel like I’m using them for my business, and they didn’t sign up to be part of my blog, so you won’t seem pictures of them on here. I might reference them (like now – hi guys!), but I’m not going to do a photoshoot with them. As a blogger, figuring out what your private life line is’, and it’s a personal decision, is really important.take 10% off this bracelet with code BUCKETLIST!

-Treat It As a Business
Sometime as a blogger, it’s hard to remember that it’s a business. One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard, was at a blogging conference, and it was to respond to every email in a timely fashion, show up to every meeting fifteen minutes early, write out contracts professionally, and meet all expectations on time. Those all seem like simple things, but it’s living up to business expectations, like you would in the business world. My husband always says, that ‘if you show up on time, and do what’s expected of you, you’ll already be ahead of 90% of people in the world’.

At the end of the day – the internet is a huge place, and there’s a place for everyone to be successful, if you stick with it, and are passionate about what you’re doing!